(L-R): Chris Johnson (Program Manager for Reef Programs, Office of the Great Barrier Reef), Alicia Loveless (Program Coordinator, Office of the Great Barrier Reef), Allister and Sarah Jenkins (Severnvale graziers), & Chris Poole (Senior Project Officer, NQ Dry Tropics).

Information day fosters better understanding between graziers and government

More than 20 Upper Burdekin graziers recently met with Queensland Government staff at the World Theatre in Charters Towers to learn more about the ins and outs of vegetation management laws and the new Reef protection regulations.

Hosted by NQ Dry Tropics and funded through the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program, the event was an opportunity for graziers to better understand how to stay within legislative requirements while undertaking activities such as maintenance clearing, developing their country and maintaining ground cover to reduce soil loss.

Representatives from five Queensland Government departments were on hand to explain what was achievable under the current legislation, and answer landholders’ questions.

Graziers quizzed the government representatives on issues such as weed management and fire breaks, and sought clarity on the legislation. 

They also learned more about the support available, including how to use Queensland Globe software to assist with property mapping, and grazing land management support initiatives such as the Grazing Resilience and Sustainable Solutions (GRASS) program.

Alicia Loveless, Program Manager, Office of the Great Barrier Reef (left) with grazier Kerry Jonsson of Jervoise Station.

Des Bolton, Gadara grazier, Josh Nicholls, Senior Project Officer – Grazing, NQ Dry Tropics,  Alicia Loveless, Program Manager, Office of the Great Barrier Reef, Chris Johnson (Program Manager for Reef Programs, Office of the Great Barrier Reef).

Ken Springall (Springall Consulting), Dave Nicholas (grazier, PYL Cattle Co), Alastair Costello (grazier, Fanning Downs), Carleigh Drew, NQ Dry Tropics Regional Extension Coordinator (grazing).

Grazier Sarah Jenkins, of Severnvale Station near Charters Towers, said she and husband Allister attended the session to gain more knowledge straight from the horse’s mouth.

“We want to look at improving our pasture even further by managing weeds and some of the less desirable scrub, but need to know how to stay within regulations and guidelines,” Mrs Jenkins said.

“The Queensland Government representatives seemed very approachable and willing to help, and it’s good to know where we can go if we do have more questions. 

“I think a lot of the issues are because people don’t know where to go or who to talk to in the first place, and are not sure how they will be received.” 

Grazier Kerry Jonsson, of Jervoise Station, near Greenvale, said the event reassured her that  support was available.

“The people speaking here today all seem to be genuinely prepared to help us, not hinder us,” Ms Jonsson said.

“The government isn’t trying to stop us from doing everything, but there are just protocols to go through that I wasn’t aware of — there’s a right way to go about it. 

“Being good stewards of the land is of paramount importance. We want to leave the country in better order than when we received it, and for our grandchildren. It’s terribly important for us to leave a sustainable, profitable business when we step off and they take over.

“There’s a lot of resources out there such as Queensland Globe, which I had never heard of. And if it can give me satellite imagery from 25 years ago, how good is that?”

NQ Dry Tropics Senior Project Officer Chris Poole (left) with graziers Allister and Sarah Jenkins, Severnvale Station holding their GRASS land management plan.

Chris Johnson (Program Manager for Reef Programs, Office of the Great Barrier Reef) presents to graziers.

(L-R) Catherine Hobbs (Principal Planning Officer, Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning), Carleigh Drew, NQ Dry Tropics Regional Extension Coordinator (grazing), Kerry Jonsson (Jervoise Station), Graeme Kenna (Planning Manager, Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning).

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said it was a great opportunity for graziers and government departments to have open discussions and collaborate.

“There are plenty of initiatives, grant programs and assistance as part of the Queensland Government’s $56 billion infrastructure guarantee, $1 billion investment into the environment and plan for economic recovery,” Ms Scanlon said.  

“We want landholders to know there is lots of information and tools available, and we want to find the best way to help them access these resources to get the information they need so they can get on with running their business.

“It’s great to see graziers keen to find out more information about what’s on offer and in particular this legislation, which is designed to not only protect waterways and the reef, but also ensure best practice agriculture at the same time.

“To be able to have landowners get information and chat with department staff directly helps to address any questions they might have, or highlight any initiatives they mightn’t have been aware of before.”

Regional Extension Coordinator (Burdekin Grazing) Carleigh Drew, said NQ Dry Tropics was committed to supporting landholders to access accurate, up to date information, to enable them to make informed on-ground decisions.

“As an independent, not for profit organisation, NQ Dry Tropics is ideally placed to facilitate conversations between landholders and government staff,” Ms Drew said.

“We hope events such as these can break down barriers and foster better relationships, for the benefit of all parties.”

The five Queensland Government Departments represented at the event were: 

  • Department of Environment and Science; 
  • Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy; 
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries;
  • Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning; and
  • Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water.

NQ Dry Tropics volunteer Jessica Pollard with grazier Mick Shannon (Springfield Station).

The event took place at the World Theatre, Charters Towers.